Dalrymple was excited to recently read an English translation of Blendi Fevziu’s Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania, and he describes what he learned about Hoxha at Taki’s Magazine:
He was not outstanding in any way as a pupil or student; he was lazy and self-indulgent, and perhaps not even particularly bright, though bright enough for a mediocre career. The characteristics in which he was outstanding, however, were ambition and self-importance.
In this, he was a thoroughly modern man, or perhaps—in view of Mrs. Clinton’s ascent—I should say person; that is, he was a ruthlessly ambitious mediocrity, prepared to push anyone aside in order to clamber upwards. In ambition, he was certainly not mediocre; but, aware of his mediocrity, he resented or hated those who showed more talent than he and he set about creating a society in which no such talent could emerge or gain prominence. He was the kind of mediocrity that feels that there is only a limited supply of praise in the world and that which is bestowed on someone else is in consequence not bestowed on him.